Massive Spoilers for Brothers (sort of) below. You have been warned.
So finally, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is out. Hearing pretty much universal praise on Twitter is pretty heartwarming, and frankly validating of my own opinions towards it. There’s something very important in the way its story is told, and I’ve been wanting to talk about it for a while now.
Brothers is a game about death that makes you think about death.
There are other aspects to it, sure, but death is the core theme running throughout the story. The reason that this stands out is because I don’t think video games handle death well at all. Whenever death is supposed to be important in videogames, it’s either a story beat that doesn’t make sense in worlds with Phoenix Downs or first-person shooty-man bullet sponges, or it’s a game mechanic poorly masquerading as important story decision making.
Every now and then you get Morden Solus* though, and while that has impact, it’s a single story beat.
Brothers does this differently by having meaningful and affecting death from the moment the game starts until it ends. It’s the first video game that has made me truly think about death, and especially its consequences. A lot of people are comparing it to Journey, I’m assuming as another fantastic, story-driven indie downloadable game, however it’s a little ironic in that regard. To me, Journey is about life and an afterlife, while Brothers is about death and how you choose to deal with it.
And while it doesn’t quite give a definitive answer on how to cope with death, it did make me think a lot about it.
Also, blah blah it’s a great looking Scandinavian fantasy world with some cool game mechanics and a griffin-owl thing that is awesome.
*Mass Effect wasn’t without its game mechanic deaths though